Sunday, 23 March 2003
America's Ray Carrasco added a new chapter to his classic rags to riches story when he closed with a two under par 70 to claim the 34,965 euro (£23,702) first prize at the inaugural Digicel Jamaica Classic in association with Sony Ericsson at the Half Moon resort in Montego Bay.

Carrasco, 55, started life as the eldest child in a family of 15 in a working class area of California but is now a wealthy man after winning two European Seniors Tour titles in the space of the last nine months. The genial American won for the first time when he captured the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth last autumn and he repeated the feat in Jamaica in temperatures soaring into the 90s and winds gusting up to 30 miles an hour.

The American was two shots adrift of England's John Morgan until Morgan carded a double bogey on the 176 yard par three 12th but then took full advantage of his chance by recording no less than five birdies in a spectacular inward half.

In the end Carrasco came home in 33 to post a five under par aggregate of 211 and finish a single shot ahead of Spain's Manuel Pinero. Chile's Guillermo Encina carded a closing 71 to finish third on 213 and Morgan shared fourth place with America's Alan Tapie on 214.

"I can't quite believe that I won," said Carrasco. "I had an shoulder operation to cure an old baseball injury in December so when I came here my game was really rusty. All I was trying to do was play my way into a little bit of form.

"I can't begin to say what this means to me," he added. "It was fantastic to win at Wentworth but in some ways this is even better because the conditions were so tough out there. Now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the season."

Ireland’s Christy O’Connor Jnr also experienced problems with his shoulder for much of the tournament but he was still able to close with a level par 72 and share sixth place with Australia’s Terry Gale and England’s Bob Larratt on one under par 215.

Larratt, the club professional from Kibworth Golf Club, near Leicester, was making his debut on the Seniors Tour after earning a Tour Card at last year’s Qualifying School. So, too, was American, Wayne Wright, who finished with a 73, good enough for a share of ninth place alongside England’s Nick Job one shot further behind.

England's David Creamer closed with a two over par 74 to win the 1,500 euro Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 and over. Creamer posted a one over par aggregate of 217 to finish a single shot ahead of Ireland's Joe McDermott.

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